Yes, it’s a cat post. I have a problem, okay? This week one of our cats did something besides roll around and be adorable though: She got sick.
Well, kind of. Here’s the deal.
Kitty #2 has never liked being carried. We got her from our local vet when she was about eight weeks old. Having lived amongst a combination of other kittens and plenty of worker humans, she had already figured out the hierarchy of her world. Cats were for loving and having fun. Humans were for feeding her, body warmth, and paying attention to her at select, Kitty approved times. That means that unlike Kitty #1, who we got when she was a tiny four-week thing, we were not able to train her to tolerate us picking her up.
Recently, her aversion to being carried seemed to grow worse, to the point where she would run away from us if we were remotely in a position where she could be lifted. This meant that unless we were practically at eye-level or she approached us on her own, she generally objected to being touched. At first we thought we’d pushed it to far: grabbing her when we got home from work or taking her upstairs at night had finally annoyed her enough that she was taking a stand.
I noticed something else last night. When she very casually shoved her butt in my face while I was grabbing something from under the bed, I saw it was red and inflamed. We both realized that we’d been wrong to assume Kitty #2 was mad at us. Her change in behavior, minor as it was, should have made us realize something was wrong. She was nervous about being touched because she wasn’t feeling well.
Here’s another thing you need to know about Kitty #2: She isn’t very smart. My husband has been saying for months that a bad fever she had at around 6 months old did some brain damage, because since then she likes to 1.) Bang her head into things 2.) Do this freaky tail twitch, and 3.) Eat things that will likely kill her. This list includes memory foam bed toppers, the tied ends of fleece blankets, and basically anything that will fit in her mouth.
We found out what was wrong late last night when some missing chunks of a blanket were deposited in a smelly mess on the floor. She’s been back to normal since. The scary part is we found that blanket almost a week ago. It’s long gone to some landfill by now, because we were mortified when we realized bites had been taken from random parts all over and I insisted on throwing it out to stop the behavior. We had no idea when this had happened, but it looks like the stupid thing has been digesting them all week.
Writing this, I can’t help thinking about the Hyperbole and a Half story where the writer gives her dog a test and confirms it’s mentally challenged. The cat isn’t quite to that end, and her problem with eating non-food isn’t nearly as amusing as that dog’s test. Mostly, I don’t want to look for one of those tests because I don’t want to know. We love our stupid little sweetie, even the only thing in the world she loves in Kitty #1, and she uses us for our opposable thumbs.
Maybe we jinxed her when we named her.
What, you didn’t actually think we called her “Kitty #2,” did you?
So we’ve accepted it. Our cat isn’t very smart, and needs protection from things she should be able to handle. We went through and cat-proofed our house (again), making sure she essentially has access to no cloth that isn’t built onto furniture, and we bought some wet cat food. The hope is that changing up their diet will keep her more interested in eating food, and less in eating things that will constipate her for a week. It’s not much of a hope, but it’s something.
1. Picture is from the Official Doctor Who website. 2. Yes, we got rid of the memory foam when she repeatedly found ways to get to it, despite it being wrapped in multiple sheets, and kicking her out of the room at what we thought were all times. She might not be smart, but she’s determined. 3. Yes, she’s going to the vet 4. No, we didn’t realize she’d been constipated. Kitty #1 apparently made up for her sister’s lack of poop in the litter box the last few days, probably because she was eating all of Kitty #2’s food.